Who are Ron Paul's Donors?

Republican Raises Stunning $4.3 Million Online in 24 Hours


Nov. 6, 2007—

Mark it down: A landmark moment entered the annals of political fundraising: Nov. 5, 2007.

Texas Republican Ron Paul, the libertarian presidential candidate who has lagged in the polls but raised as much money as top-tier candidates, passed $4.3 million in online fundraising in 24 hours.

Paul's Haul May Set Online Record

It was a big deal back in 2000 when Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., raised $1 million online in the 24 hours after his upset victory over then-Gov. George W. Bush in the New Hampshire primary.

McCain's impressive take was seen as the birth of online fundraising -- a moment when online donors gained considerable respect.

Paul raised just over $5 million in the most recent fundraising quarter, which ended September 30. The campaign has set an official goal of raising $12 million between Oct.1 and the end of 2007.

As of midnight Sunday, Nov. 4, the Paul campaign claimed to have raised $2.77 million.

Monday's drive was coordinated by an independent Web site but received the tacit endorsement of Paul on the stump this week.

He told supporters at a rally in Columbia, S.C., that the mainstream media is more likely to pay attention if he raises more money. And that attention will lead to more mainstream voters hearing his message.

Watch video of Paul on the stump from ABC News on the campaign trail in South Carolina by clicking here.

Supporters Remember Nov. 5

It's not unusual for campaigns to attach a slogan to a one-day, one-event or one-week fundraising push.

Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., and Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., have dined with donating supporters; Elizabeth Edwards, wife of former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, encouraged donations for her husband's birthday.

Earlier this year, Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., got his hand slapped by Major League Baseball for offering to raffle off World Series tickets to a lucky donor.

But leave it to Ron Paul's devoted legions to win the originality contest this year.

"Remember, Remember, the fifth of November," cries the call for cash.

The catchy slogan comes from a nursery rhyme about Guy Fawkes, the 17th-century crusader for Catholics rights caught in the basement of parliament with 36 barrels of gunpowder. He failed in his mission to blow the place up.

ABC News tracked down Trevor Lyman, the man behind the Web site that coordinated Paul's one-day money bomb on his cell phone in line at a Miami Starbucks, where the whir of the barista making his lunchtime latte could be heard in the background.

Lyman, 37, is not your average political fundraiser.

His day job is running a music promotion Web site, but he spends his free time at the helm of the grassroots Web site that conspired in online chat forums and meetup groups to send a fundraising bomb in support of Paul.

But Lyman, who has never worked for a campaign before -- and still doesn't, technically -- describes himself as "mostly apathetic" when it comes to politics, started supporting Paul back when the congressman was just exploring a presidential run.

He started a Web site devoted to Paul videos, the tagline for which is "Televising the Revolution."

The first video featured when we visited showed surfers how to use holiday lights to create and illuminated "Ron Paul Revolution" yard decoration.

Reach of the 'Revolution'

Lyman launched his most recent site only on Oct. 18, and he is hoping to move back to New Hampshire soon, not to work on the campaign, just because he went to college there and said it would be a better place than Miami to raise a family.

Asked if it is appropriate to invoke a nursery rhyme about a man who tried to blow up parliament in the 17th-century as a fundraising tool, Lyman said, "Some people want to go that way. We're not going in any way violent."

He said the idea sprang up when he saw someone propose a mass one-day online fundraising drive in a Ron Paul meetup group.

The date Nov. 5 corresponded with the movie "V for Vendetta" and the Guy Fawkes rhyme.

"If you look at the pop culture feel-good message of the movie," Lyman said, "the people in the end say we are the deciders. That's the best way to describe it. And this is a country of and by the people."

"The entire notion of Bush saying he is the decider when 70 or 80 percent of the country wants out of the war is ridiculous. He acts like a dictator."

And that, said Lyman, is why he supports Paul, who is uncompromising and strict in his support of the Constitution, as literally as possible to the way it is written.

"I like some things about Republican ideals, but it goes back to the Constitution for me," Lyman said, still in line for his coffee. "And those ideals are all about small government, even if the party in recent years has not been," he said.

Apparently, as the online donation meter indicates, others agree.